Haiti Needs $11.5 Billion to Rebuild

UNITED NATIONS, March 29 (UPI) — More than $11.5 billion in spending over 10 years will be required to rebuild Haiti, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday.

The challenge facing the country and its financial benefactors is “not to rebuild but to ‘build back better,’ to create a new Haiti,” Ban said in a commentary published in The Washington Post. Haiti was ravaged by a 7.7-magnitude earthquake Jan. 12.

More than 100 countries will participate in the International Donors Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti at the United Nations headquarters Wednesday in New York, the non-governmental organization said in a release. The meeting will be led by Haitian President Rene Preval, with Ban and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton serving as co-hosts.

Under the plan, an Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission would direct nearly $4 billion into specific projects and programs during the next 18 months, with the remaining funds spread over the next decade, Ban said.

“This assistance must be well-spent and well-coordinated,” Ban said, noting emergency relief, such as food and sanitation, must continue.

Besides basic services, Ban said reconstructing Haiti would include a new social contract between Haiti and its people that would empower women, provide new opportunities for economic advancement and include fair, free elections be conducted with the U.N.’s help, preferably by the end of this year.

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